One of the gifts members of Congress gave to President Biden on Wednesday was an « optimistic » painting by a civil war black landscape artist.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and First Lady Jill Biden presented Robert S. Duncanson’s 1859 work « Landscape With Rainbow » during the opening ceremony.
« For a black artist, painting this painting, which resembles an American utopia on the verge of war, makes us question slavery would fight, all of that even more interesting, « noted Blunt.
The work was on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which describes the Cincinnati-based painter Duncanson as « the most famous African American painter in the years leading up to the Civil War. »
The First Lady handpicked and selected the painting featured a lush green landscape of people and cows, and a rainbow overhead symbolizing renewal and hope.
Typically, a painting like this is seen during the traditional Congress lunch that follows the inauguration.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, lunch was canceled in favor of the gift ceremony in the Capitol rotunda.
The congress officials presented Biden (78) and Vice President Kamala Harris with vases, flags and photos during the event.
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